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Juncker says Europe can no longer 'outsource' protection
by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) June 9, 2017


Europe has to take care of its defence given the shift in US policy, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday, promoting a hefty defence fund announced by Brussels.

"The protection of Europe can no longer be outsourced," Juncker told a defence conference in Prague.

"Over the past decade, it has become crystal clear that our American partners consider that they are shouldering too much of the burden for their wealthy European allies," he said.

On Wednesday, the EU unveiled an unprecedented plan to set up a 5.5-billion-euro ($6.15-billion) a year fund, following a Franco-German led bid to focus on security and defence to provide a new sense of purpose after last year's Brexit vote shook Europe.

"We have no other choice than to defend our own interests in the Middle East, in climate change, in our trade agreements by stepping up our efforts on defence and by doing so together," he said.

US President Donald Trump, who follows an "America First" policy, berated his European partners on military spending at a raucous NATO summit in Brussels last month.

Juncker said the EU would not compete with NATO, with which it shares 22 members, adding: "NATO has been and will remain the cornerstone of European security for decades. We are different but we complement each other."

NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said the alliance welcomed the proposed fund.

"A stronger European defence means a stronger NATO and a stronger NATO means a stronger European defence," she said, adding neither NATO nor the EU could tackle current challenges alone.

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Qatar crisis has 'no impact' on US military operations: Pentagon
Washington (AFP) June 6, 2017
A Saudi-led move to isolate Qatar has had "no impact" on US military operations in the emirate, nor is any expected, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday. The US has a regional command center at Al-Udeid air base near Doha from which it runs air operations throughout the region. "There has been no impact on our operations either in Qatar or with regards to airspace permission around it and ... read more

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